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Hallelujah: The Story of One Song's Ascent

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leonard Cohen's "Various Positions" and Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" (Amazon)

It’s possible that you might have first heard "Hallelujah" in its original form, on the 1984 album Various Positions by Leonard Cohen. But it’s much more likely that you first encountered it somewhere else – maybe in a small East Village pub, being sung by Jeff Buckley. Or at the winter Olympics, being sung by k.d. lang. Or on the soundtrack for the animated film Shrek, sung by Rufus Wainwright. "Hallelujah" has, against all odds, become one of the most widely recorded songs in music history -- and music journalist and author Alan Light explains how in his new book, “The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & The Unlikely Ascent of Hallelujah.”

Further listening:

Jeff Buckley performed along with guitarist Gary Lucas on New Sounds Live, hosted by Soundcheck host John Schaefer, on March 8, 1992. Listen to two tracks from that performance -- "Grace" and "How Long Will It Take?"

Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas - How Long Will It Take? - New Sounds Live

Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas - Grace - New Sounds Live


Alan Light

Comments [1]


It's actually the John Cale version which was used in the movie "Shrek"; the Rufus Wainwright version only appears on the soundtrack album.

Dec. 13 2012 10:03 PM

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